The exercises are designed to create opportunities for you to demonstrate the type of skills you would need to show for successful performance in the new company or job. The exercises themselves are often set in an organisation which is different from the one you are applying to. For instance, you may be applying for a job in a bank but the assessment context is a charity. This is to ensure everyone has the same opportunity to demonstrate their skills based on consistent information- so internal candidates don’t have a knowledge based advantage.
What are the participants measured against?
ADCs often examine the underlying personal skills and aptitudes a candidate may have, as it is these elements which are crucial to the effective performance of the role. The assessors measure performance of candidates by comparing it to role relevant standards of behaviour. These are contained within competency frameworks which should be available prior to the assessment.
A common misconception is that a person’s performance is dependent on how they feel on ‘the day’, and that they may not perform as they usually would due to nerves or other external factors. At ADC the assessors are looking for skills such as how you resolve problems, relate to others, plan for the future or convey information. If you are usually able to effectively resolve problems and communicate with others, you will be able to show your skills in these areas, provided you have prepared properly for the event. Bear in mind, it is a contrived environment and certain rules apply which will make it easier to do well. You need to have a good idea what these rules are before you throw yourself in at the deep end if you want to perform to your very best.
The ADC is a nerve-wracking situation, even though it is set up to be as comfortable and friendly as possible! It is not designed to be intimidating or unachievable, even if it might feel that way at times. The more relaxed you feel, the more the assessors will be able to see how you naturally behave and where your skills may be best suited. You are more likely to be able to relax and let your potential shine if you have made sure you are fully prepared prior to the event.
The crucial point to remember is that the ADC is all evidence based. It is up to you to provide observable evidence of what you are capable of.
Your attitudes, abilities and skills will be measured through a variety of scenarios. One of the ways an ADC elicits good quality information regarding candidates’ capabilities is to use ‘work simulations’ which test a range of relevant skills through fictitious but relevant situations.
Typical ADC exercises
An Assessment/ Development Centre can be made up of a mix of the following types of exercises:
- Written exercise;
- Inbox/ In-basket/ In-tray exercise;
- One to one role-play;
- Group role-play;
- Group discussion;
- Analysis/ case studies exercise;
- Leadership/ team building exercise;
- Psychometric Testing;
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